Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood

F has a Moosewood cookbook… he swears he used to have two, but one got lost somewhere in his moves from Portland to Chicago back to Portland. It doesn’t matter, because he never really cooks. However, for a get together on a warm Monday evening, I had called for a potluck. While I prepared the watercress orange soup of last post, I picked out this Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant  for his contribution. I had always been curious about it.

He didn’t quite follow it as he adapted it based on what we had. For instance the recipe calls for all the spices except for the parsley to be dried… but he went the opposite, where everything but the parsley was fresh. We also switched out the pine nuts (which he thought were too expensive) for slivers of almonds instead because i still thought the nuts should be present to add some crunch texture. And he did not do the original topping of sauteed bread crumbs and pine nuts in butter on top, instead using some Italian seasoned breadcrumbs I already had in the pantry.

The yield of this is enough for 8 people, and takes about 1.5 hours of bot prep and cook time. It’s a great way to get a lot of vegetables in, and is a pretty healthy recipe.


  • 2 medium eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch round slices
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups, about 1 lb of sliced mushrooms
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons marjoram
  • 3/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4  cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (although we used slivers of almonds instead, and increased the amount to 2/3 cup)
  • 4 eggs (though we used egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (the recipe calls for whole wheat, but we used Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
  • Optional: additional topping made with 2-3 tbsp of oil or butter, 2/3 cup pine nuts, more parsley, and sliced pepper. He didn’t do this step.


  1. Place the eggplant slices on an olive oiled baking sheet, salt them lightly, and cover them with aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 degrees until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onions in the oil until translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, covered on medium heat until the mushrooms have released their juices and become soft.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, marjoram, thyme, paprika, salt, and black pepper.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
    Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood
  5. Combine the rice, lemon juice, parsley, and pine nuts.  Instead, we substituted almond slivers instead of pine nuts, and we increased the amount of 2 tablespoons to 2/3 cup.
    Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood
  6. To assemble the casserole, oil a 9x13x2 1/2 inch baking dish.  Spread half of the rice mixture on the bottom and cover with half of the eggplant slices.  Spoon half of the sauteed vegetables on top of the eggplant layer.  Repeat this process using the remaining rice, eggplant and vegetables.
    Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood
  7. Pour the beaten eggs (though we just used egg whites) evenly over the top of the casserole so that they drizzle down into it.
    Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood
  8. Optional: Combine the bread crumbs and nuts and saute them on low heat in the oil or butter for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Top the casserole with the nut mixture. What you see below is that he decided against the additional oil or butter and just topped the casserole with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.
    Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole: from Moosewood
  9. Bake the casserole, covered, at 350 degrees for about 350 minutes.  Then uncover and bake for 10 minutes until the top is crisp and the casserole still moist.
  10. Optional: Garnish with parsley and peppers.

And… I forgot to take the photo of the finished product. OOOPS!



  1. Huh, I wonder if this is a genuine Transylvanian recipe? My family lived in Romania for a year when I was a teenager and I very much enjoyed some of the food we were treated to there.

    On another note, I love my one Moosewood cookbook. Such creative vegetable ideas!

    • I’m excited because I’m going to New York at the end of the month for a week, and during my visit I will try to go to the Moosewood restaurant! I can’t speak for whether this is a genuine Transylvanian recipe- I’m not sure what part of it would distinguish it as from there!


  1. […] For St Patrick’s Day I requested F make something he has previously from the Sundays at Moosewood Cookbook, courtesy of Moosewood Restaurant in New York:  a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. This is the same cookbook that also gave us the recipe for the previously shared Transylvanian Eggplant Casserole. […]

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